Every association operates similarly, but differently. When implementing a new AMS, you want your provider to understand the nuances of your association – what makes you, you. By having internal conversations around processes and accurately documenting them, your provider gets an inside understanding of how you operate. Then, they’re able to configure the system to fit your tailored needs.
Evaluate Your Current Processes
Implementation is the ideal time to take a look at how your organization is currently doing things. To do this well, start by meeting with each of your internal subject matter experts. Think of the different competencies in your association - membership, finance, events, certifications, and more - who is the go-to person for each of those things? They likely have a nuanced understanding of every process within their role and how each relates to the AMS.
Walkthrough your processes together and evaluate every step whether it occurs in the AMS, with an integration partner, or manually. As you do this, consider which processes are serving you well or need improvement. Both are important to know before you have discovery meetings with your new AMS provider.
You don’t want to implement a new system with the same old problems, right? This is the time to evaluate anything that is not proving effective for your organization. Maybe a process has too many manual steps or causes an inconvenience to your members. Whatever is causing a hiccup or a headache, make sure to have conversations with your team to reimagine any processes before presenting them to your new vendor. As for those processes that are working well, confirm that you can recreate them in your new system.
Whether your processes are well-established or newly designed, you should discuss them in-depth with your new AMS partner. Since every association does things a little differently, it’s crucial that your vendor understands exactly how you operate. Walk your vendor through every step of every process – that way they’ll understand what needs to be done on their side to make life seamless for your staff, members, sponsors, exhibitors, or anyone who wants to engage with your organization.
- Membership registration for individuals, organizations, or both
- Event registration for attendees (member and non-member), exhibitors, and speakers
- Steps to earn a certification through applications, courses, and exams
- Financial reconciliation at the end of the month
Documenting Your Processes in Detail to Share with Your Provider
So, you’ve done all the leg work and had the internal discussions around processes, but how do you actually format all of this information to easily share it with your AMS provider? We recommend using flowcharts.
Flowcharts are a visual way to demonstrate the full journey of a process within your organization. Have your subject matter experts map out each step along with any variations that are dependent upon information or an action and be as granular as possible. Be sure that they are arranged in the proper sequence before formally documenting them.
Flowcharts are particularly beneficial when documenting complex processes. They ensure that every intricacy and variation is accounted for and properly explained. This lessens the chance of any subtlety being missed.
Since processes can be detailed and sometimes difficult to understand, plan a meeting with your provider to walk through the workflows and explain the details of each one. No one understands your association as well as you do, so walking the provider through how you operate will help deepen their understanding and give them a designated time to ask questions, or even make suggestions. Since AMS vendors work with so many different associations, they could have suggestions around your processes or a way to make it work more efficiently in their system.
When this is all said and done, both you and your provider will walk away with a deep insight into your operations. Then, they can configure the system to work for your distinct needs – building a system that is fit for you and your members.